Published on Tuesday 30 August 2022

I have only recently just come back to Malta after spending 3 wonderful months as an exhibition assistant at one of the biggest contemporary art festivals, the Venice Biennale. This was not only an educationally fruitful and fulfilling experience, but every day was a whirlwind of excitement and activities. I will try my best to condense this marvellous experience in a few words and showcase some of my favourite moments.

Our mornings were usually spent at the Malta Pavilion, hearing gasps from awe-stricken visitors as they witnessed the installation. The installation is set up in a darkened space and showcases melted steel falling rhythmically into seven pools of water. The effect that this work creates is that of sublimity in the silence of the work, and the visitors usually felt compelled to ask me and my colleagues to give them the background of the installation. Therefore, the work itself facilitated artistic discussion, which in turn also gave the visitors more appreciation about Malta as a country. Most visitors spent a lot of time in our pavilion as it is a hypnotic work which is fully engaging. No matter how many times I saw the installation myself, I would always be re-enticed by its grandeur. This is a testament to the artists themselves and all the individuals linked to this project.

What I am also incredibly fond of are all the other interns from different national pavilions who we made friends with. Our neighbouring pavilions were Iceland and Lebanon, which were amongst the few nationalities we got to come into contact with and bond over our cultural differences and similarities. I think it is incredibly beneficial to engage in conversations with people from around the world, and this experience was a perfect melting point of cultures and social backgrounds. These social connections are what made this placement all the more enjoyable.

Since I would like to pursue a career as an artist, seeing and witnessing contemporary works and speaking to artists alike is essential for me. I feel that I have gained a more informed outlook about the great art that is happening around me, which makes me more invested in creating art that has contemporary relevance in our society. It is mainly through our visit to Arcangelo Sassolino’s studio that I have a new found appreciation of what it means to be an artist, as his works are incredibly sensitive to the human condition.

It is safe to say that this was a defining moment for my artistic career and I will harvest not only the knowledge learnt but the friendships gained along the way. I am truly honoured to have been a part of this project.

Martina Darmanin - Intern at the Malta Pavilion - April - June 2022.